Monday, December 21, 2009

your moment(s) of zen.

when i was a much younger and more impressionable lass i was introduced to the jackalope. you know, part jackrabbit part antelope. mainly a desert dwelling animal, i do believe they were spotted as high up as the sierras. which is where i first heard about them.

now, i wasn't *so* impressionable that i didn't harbor *some* kind of suspicion about this actually being a *real* animal. BUT that's back in the olden days when we didn't, when we couldn't, wiki and google everything so how in the world could we 'really' know anything, right?

now fast forward to a few years ago at a local steakhouse with my husband. the bartender is telling us how the bar came over from england and is actually 'the' oldest bar in the state or the world or whatnot. i don't really know what he said because i wasn't really listening. because over the bar was the mounted head of a JACKALOPE! a full rack of antlers and everything! and right then and there i knew they were real!

so i say to the bartender

'hey! you have a jackalope!'

he kinda chuckled and said


'yeah, i always wondered if they were real. cool.'

at this point it's dawning on the bartender and my husband that i honestly believe that the head over the bar is a 'real' jackalope. that they really exist and here's the proof.

so my husband says

'um, they aren't real. you know that right? that's just a rabbit head that somebody put antlers on. a jackalope isn't a real animal.'


bummer. because a jackalope would be an AWESOME animal.

speaking of bummers, this can be hard time of year for a lot of people. whatever's going on it feels like the short dark days and the long cold nights and the year coming to a close, not to mention possible financial and familial pressures, only makes it seem bigger and worse.

just remember to be good to yourself. go easy on the ones you love. that everyone is trying to make it through, just like you are.

and maybe this year we just go for the best we can do, straight from the heart. leave perfection and grandiose expectations to someone else. maybe we just try it.

and maybe that if nothing else, if the best you can do is just accept that it is what it is and just put one foot in front of the other and just keep moving forward, then hey, you're doing all right.

which brings me to this week's moment(s) of zen. it's 4 1/2 minutes and i encourage you to watch it and share it with the kids. enjoy!

bound bound bound and rebound.

happy winter solstice.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

still crazy after all these years.

i think advice on relationships is pure crap. mainly because unless you are in the relationship you can really have NO idea what goes on and therefore should keep your big fat trap shut. even when you're asked. seriously. do yourself a favor and just move along.

i know from experience that when we give advice or opinions we are just being preachy and projecting and so just goddamned glad it's not us that it makes us self-righteous. oh yuck, right?

because self-righteousness is like wine or candy or porn. it serves its purpose, sure, and may be all kinds of fun, okay, but at the end of the day it's just another crutch. and self-righteousness is even worse when employed by someone IN the relationship. however *justified.* because it sure feels good, but that's all. and it's fleeting. it's not going to be there to comfort you when you're sad, or care for you when you're ill, or hold your hair back when you're puking in the yard.

it's SO easy to judge somebody's relationship based on social mores and convention, but those are crap, too. and i am guilty as charged for doing so sometimes, but i'm working on it! so there.

a relationship is its own living breathing organic construct. there is absolutely no way any two could be exactly alike, and therefore there is no way there can be one set of 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts.' it's a ridiculous notion.

so with that, on this anniversary of mine i'm thinking of my experience with relationships. and with two marriages, one divorce, lots and lots of LOTS of mistakes made, heartbreaks, and hearts broken under my belt i have one very important nugget of "wisdom" i'd like to share. not because i have a perfect relationship, or because i think i know jack shit, but because i'm happy. i'm happy in my relationship and this is my way of expressing it. again, not because it's perfect, but because it's just right for me.

plus, it's my blog so i get to pretend i know something.

are you ready? okay...


oops. was i shouting?

people are always happier when they can move about their life being exactly who they are, not who someone else wants them to be. trying to change for someone or trying to change someone is futile and heartbreaking and absolutely no fun. barring a few exceptions, for the most part people don't change. they just don't. and wishing they would or wanting them to or trying to force them to just doesn't work.

and hell, isn't life just so much better when you are even if you are flawed and grappling and still working on it? at least there's a chance to find the answer, right? isn't life just so much better when you're with someone who is just who they are? comfortable with themselves? real? who doesn't have to try so damned hard? only to mostly fail because it's inauthentic to the real them?

so if you want to be with someone with some amount of happiness and success you need to be with the *them* that THEY are comfortable with, not the *them* that YOU want them to be. and if you can't let the person you're in a relationship be who they are then perhaps that's not the relationship for you.

okay, i'm off my soap box. for now. don't go too far, there's usually more.

and with that being said, i will offer the following exchange from a real life relationship moment in this house;

this morning i received the following e-mail from my husband under the subject *Dinner.*

"How do you feel about me making meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and a steamed veggie for dinner?"

to which i replied

"i'm confused? is this a trick question?"

and i'm going to honor my own experience and let my husband be *exactly who he is* and let him make me a 100% home made with love, absolutely delicious dinner while i do nothing but sit on my ass and watch. because i'm sweet like that.

still nothing but full blown excitement around here.

still crazy after all these years.

still the luckiest girl in the world.


Friday, December 04, 2009

yes, internet, there is a santa claus.

so last night after a long day i was looking forward to getting wingman settled into bed, the duke settled in the living room with a book, and me settled with my glass of wine, my husband, and my television boyfriend.

i got wingman all tucked in and turned the light out and was leaving the room when i hear him ask

"mama, how big is god?"

sigh. there are times as a parent when you can defer questions for a later "better" time. like the time the duke asked me where babies came from on the way into target. but last night, this was not one of those questions. not even if by answering it it meant that you were going to miss your television boyfriend.

parental sacrifice is so great sometimes.

so i got into bed next to him and we chatted about it.

the thing is, you're never going to have a more honest conversation about god than the one you have with a child. with anyone else it's a matter of them trying to convince you that he does NOT exist and why. or trying to convince you that he DOES exist and why.

with a child it just is.

wingman has always been the one to come up with the deep thinking and the wondering and worrying. we've been driving in the car and he'll randomly bust out with something like "i don't ever want to die." or "isn't that sky just AMAZING?" or "i think i would like a stepfather."

by the way, as you may imagine, that last one really threw me when he said it. i told him i'd have to get married again for him to have a stepfather. and that wasn't going to happen. and wasn't he happy with his papa? he said "oh yeah! i just think it would be cool to have more parents to love me."

and the cool thing about talking to wingman about god is that he has his opinions and i have mine. and we can just tell each other what we think. and we're both listened to, heard. there isn't church or organized religion in our house, but there is a lot of spirituality and the study of history. and you don't have a lot of history study without study of religion. not properly. so much of what was shaped in this world was (is) tied to religion. jesus, what wasn't, right?( no pun intended) whether it was a civilization, a culture, a border, etc. you can't really get away from it. so in this house there's perspective, context, and the chance for your own opinions on the matter. it's all fair game.

and when you're 8 and you still believe in santa claus and the tooth fairy and you haven't soured on your president yet...when you still believe that the world is a good and right place filled with magic and wonder, and just enough real life, well god just fits right in there. because no one has told you different yet. and someday they will. but today, today you're 8. and you get to believe exactly what you want to.

the thing i love about thinking about the idea of/the existence of god, santa claus, the tooth fairy, true love, the perfect reuben, a margarita ordered from a restaurant that does not suck, etc., is that you get blessed with the most precious gift of all. hope. hope that the thing that is in your brain or in your heart does indeed exist. and that one day, if you haven't already, that you will come across it. you really will.

and i know hope has become a tag word of late, sure. bandied about in meaningless fashion sometimes. but just because it's become kind of trite does not mean that its real meaning and importance is negated.

that being said, to have hope as an adult is not always easy. not when you know that the world around you contains so much misery and heartache. when you may not have enough of anything that you need to just make it through the day, let alone the week, the year, your life. when there are so many needs in the larger world that you cannot even begin to think about it some days.

but when you're little, you don't have all of that. you just lie in your bed at night thinking about the things that 'could' be. things that 'might' be. hope is infinite. it doesn't cost a thing and it's yours for the taking.

that being said, my kids are HUGE believers of santa. the duke has said before, "OF COURSE santa's real. for one, my mother would NEVER spend, like, 70 dollars on me!"


we were talking about santa awhile ago, in relation to a larger discussion on faith and beliefs and religion and agnosticism and atheism and all that. and the duke's theory was that for the kids who don't believe in santa, that's fine with him. but he didn't think it was okay to make fun of the kids who do. like there's something wrong with them. he said

"just like people shouldn't make fun of or tease people who believe in god or religion or have faith just because they don't believe or don't have it."


bear with me because this isn't too formed as a cohesive thought, but to me, santa is the beginning for some kids about learning what faith is. faith right on their level. and by faith i mean the idea of believing in something. really truly believing. a precursor to actual faith if you will.

that for some kids there is this guy, a myth, perpetuated and totally co-opted for the commercial a lot of the times, sure, but regardless he remains a constant mythical *good.* something that these kids can identify with.

and his mere existence introduces kids to wishing. who else but a guy who is all about toys and candy and being good and elves and all the magic that surrounds santa could get to kids in that way? kids 'get' it. and sure we can talk all we want about manipulation and all that, but the fact remains that kids 'get' santa.

and this myth opens the door to the what-ifs. to believing in something that is so fantastical and SO preposterous (flying reindeer? chimney diving?) *that it just might be right on.* and kids know that the fantastical can be real. it's only adults who lose sight of that.

santa is about belief, even when it seems impossible. about lying in bed and wondering and wish making and hoping against hope that it will be how you want it christmas morning. even when you know circumstances in your house suggest otherwise. because wishing and hoping ARE real. they exist. and they're there even when nothing else is.

okay, yeah, i get the disappointment aspect. there's no real way around that. and having been disappointed as a child, and having seen a glimmer of disappointment in my own child's face i get it. (wingman has always wanted a Nintendo DS. he has never gotten one. he was too little then, and now they are just too pricey. he'll get over it. or he won't. who knows. as far as i'm concerned, that's what therapists and blogs are for.)

so yeah, i don't necessarily think disappointment is always a bad thing. but that's a discussion for another time regarding how parents perpetuate the myth if they can't fulfill it and all that. because i can see it eventually becoming a liability under certain circumstances.

does that make any sense? probably not. it did in my head. but that's neither here nor there because it's just one part of my larger point and i'm sticking to it whether it makes sense in print or not.

the bottom line is that for some kids, for me, i think you learn to believe and to wish and to dream with santa. and that's his real gift, his real magic. in the larger picture, it's not the stuff, it's the idea.

that being said, one day the duke won't believe. seriously, he's 12. the only reason he still believes in santa is because i let him. and because he knows how cheap i am and it's the only way he thinks he's gonna get anything good. and may i say that santa TOTALLY ROCKS this house. not in mass consumerist excess, just in real and true fabulousness.

and really, the duke may actually "know." word on the street is that he is rather an astute young lad. but he's not saying anything and neither am i.

and then one day wingman won't believe. and when that day comes, or the day comes that they really want to know "the truth," or they catch me in the act i'll say

"you know, i am santa now and have been as you got bigger. but santa is about belief and as long as you once believed that's all that really matters. and if you spoil it for your brother i'm locking you in the basement."

i don't care who believes in what. everyone is entitled to their own ideas about everything. god, the tooth fairy, the existence of the perfect reuben or a restaurant margarita that doesn't suck. believe away because i accept you and your beliefs just as you are.

but just so you know, i believe in santa just as much as my kids do.

merry merry.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

o little town two towns away.

so i was in the town two towns away that i don't spend time in but just happened to have been in twice in one week. the reason why this time was that wingman LOVES nutcrackers. and he loves that santa brings him a cool nutcracker each year. and i figured since santa is so busy these days that i'd help him out and scout around.


i went to the various thrift stores in this town two towns away in search of vintage (read cool and cheap) nutcrackers. and one of the thrift stores is in a strip mall with a grocery outlet and a dollar store. there's also a store there called 'stupid prices.' but it's out of business. i wonder if the prices were too stupid or just the name.

anyhow, i checked the thrift store and didn't find anything. then i headed next door to the grocery outlet. it's got to be a chain because i remember this store from when i was little growing up in california. the name was slightly different, maybe 'canned food outlet' or something like that? but i remember the same rainbow logo. i also remember it was on one side of the freeway overpass and 'budget meats' was on the other. this was a convenient A to B for shopping in my household.

good lord, 'budget meats.' as you may imagine, this was a no frills concern that sold meat. cheap. it didn't smell particularly good, not bad, just not good. especially so during the scorching valley summers. and given its location, it was always an adventure as to who would be hanging around out front. who hangs out in front of 'budget meats?' and, it was not lost on me as a little kid that not only was 'budget meats' NOT a particularly reassuring name, it also had an unfortunately close proximity to a veterinary hospital. as an imaginative child this really gave me pause.

anyhow, so this 'grocery outlet' is supposed to be groceries on the cheap. i heard from a friend that they had an inexpensive wine section, too so i thought i'd go in and check it out. what's the big deal? i didn't think the groceries in this place were all that cheap, a LOT were regularly priced. certainly not something for me to drive two towns away to get to.

oh sure, unless you want "juice." oh, and it's in quotes on the bottles, too, because it's not actually juice. for some reason the 'grocery outlet' had fake juice up the whazoo. and chopped nuts, too. only they are chopped nuts packaged as "nutmeats." and i just can't. i don't care how good a deal it is. i just can't.

oh, and the wine section was a bunch of wines i've not only never in my life heard of, they all had suspicious labels with fake sounding 'fancy names.'

sure, some cheap wines can be very good. okay, drinkable at least. but these were REALLY cheap, and sort of 'off' looking. like something that inmates from an asylum would make for both a therapeutic activity and fundraiser for the facility. but not surprisingly, because i'm me and therefore cannot resist a good wine deal, i started to gravitate towards some label with elaborate swirls and something like "falalalaulia," and i was only saved by the fact that right then over the loudspeaker the song that was playing ended and the new song that came on was 'the christmas shoes.'

ARRGH! 'the christmas shoes!!' look, i love christmas music. secular, religious, churchy, all out god is our savior with the big chorus, i don't care! I LOVE IT! and often the sappier the better. BUT this song, i get all weepy and cry!! but not in the good kind of way because it's such a terrible manipulative tear jerker! it's a bad sad cry. in fact it's nearly UNFAIR how it makes me cry. so i hear the opening bars and i immediately make for the door. whew, thank god or i might have actually purchased the "falalalaulia" or whatever it was for 1.99. because i know just by looking at it it was NO two buck chuck. okay, sure, it *might* have been on par with two buck chuck. it *might* have been the best wine in the world, but i'm kinda glad i'll never find out.

so i go next door to the dollar store. because it's there. and because i'm looking for red tapers for my winter solstice advent wreath and you'd think this being the season of red tapers and all that i'd find them easily. not so much. oddly enough, i cannot find red tapers to save my life. so i go in and what is on the loudspeaker? 'THE CHRISTMAS SHOES!' i kid you not! it's a wonder when these things happen (with alarming frequency it seems) that there really isn't a hidden camera crew when i look around for them.

anyway, so i spy candles right as i walk in. of course they aren't red tapers, because that would be too easy. BUT they are soy candles in their own glass holders, a nice brand i remember ordering OFF THE INTERWEBS FOR A RIDICULOUS SUM a few years back. and here they are! for ONLY 1.00! i am a cheap bastard so this at once makes me terribly angry that i didn't think of patronizing dollar stores more in my past and completely gleeful that this fabulous deal has come my way!!!

so i bought 1.

okay, i bought 4. and yes, because i have issues, i felt terribly bad about the extravagance! but they are so wonderful and i'm not getting out and going two towns over anytime soon AGAIN just to buy candles. to balance it out i did briefly think of gifting one or two though...sigh.

then i see the christmas section. and i have to look. and i'm in a crowd of people looking at the ornaments when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this older gentleman, wearing a beret and tweed no less, comes up to me...

okay, can i interject something here? in this town two towns away people don't wear berets and tweed. they are sailors, and steel workers, and meth heads. this is the same town wherein i got hit on at the stop light by the two gentlemen, one with a mullet, in the jacked up whack 4x4 with the handcuffs around the mirror and the suggestive bumper stickers on the back. where i was graciously invited for a 'few beers' at the 'drift inn.' and no, they were not wearing berets or tweed.

oh and another thing, while i'm already off track...

older men love me. and this isn't me tooting my horn (which due to a large ego gets more use than it should) it's just fact. men in their mid 50s to be exact. which, as i age, isn't terribly 'older' anymore. but it's 'older' than me. there's just something about me that they like. it happens where ever i go, but ESPECIALLY so in co-ops and health food stores. and i don't even go to co-ops and health food stores a lot since we don't have co-ops and health food stores out here BUT WHEN I DO it's like the pied piper of the saw palmetto set.

okay, so out of this whole crowd of people this older gentleman walks right up to me and says

"do you know where i can get some hanukkah candles?"

and it must be him or what he's asking or who knows but all the people in the crowd stop what they are doing and are now looking at us.

and i say

"as a matter of fact i do. i just bought mine."

and i tell him where to go. there aren't a LOT of choices where we happen to be, so he's thrilled.

and if there's anything odd about an older gentleman wearing a beret and tweed in the middle of the dollar store in a town two towns away filled with sailors and steel workers and meth heads coming right up to *me* and picking *me* out of a crowd while i am perusing the CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS and asking me where in the county, not in the store but the county because they don't sell HANUKKAH candles at the dollar store in the town two towns away, where he can find HANUKKAH candles and then ME KNOWING EXACTLY WHERE even though i'm perusing CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS because i just bought MINE for HANUKKAH well then i wouldn't know what it is.

because if you look up 'par for the course' in the dictionary you would see a picture of me that is captioned 'whenever she leaves the house...' and a place to fill in the blank of everything that ever has and ever will happen to me when i leave the house.

and this being such a big deal i have to blog about it just serves to illustrate that i need to get out more. if only it weren't such a hassle.

all right, i've got work to do so i'll wrap this up. but not before i leave you with this gem.

you're welcome.